Biloxi council tables vote on reducing longevity pay - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi council tables vote on reducing longevity pay

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - In a 4 to 3 vote Tuesday, the Biloxi City Council decided to table Mayor A.J. Holloway's proposal to lower longevity pay.  The mayor's proposal would drop longevity pay from $15 to $6 a month.

The mayor and his administration point to shortfalls in tax revenues for why the proposal is needed. His administration claims the budget needs to be trimmed by $5 million to offset future deficits.

After preparing an analysis of the budget and answering questions from the council before the meeting, the administration was looking for the council to take action. So were some of the council members.

"They did show us all the numbers and the urgency of the problem exist right now.  Let's get it solved.  Let's do it," said Ward 5 Councilman Tom Wall.

Councilman Clark Griffith of Ward 4 agreed with the push to move forward.

"The longer you wait to make tough decisions the tougher the decision is," Griffith said. "For us to continue to say we're going to continue to push things back, it doesn't make sense to me."

Council members who voted to table the issue said the budget needed another look, especially since city employees would feel the cuts.  Council President Bill Stallworth of Ward 2 announced that the council will hold a budget hearing in the coming week to address longevity pay, among other issues.

"Before you start affecting the lives of people, I think you do them a disservice if you don't stop and take a look at this entire picture," said Stallworth.

Ward 1 Councilman George Lawrence agreed with Stallworth saying there's no need to rush when cuts to employees pay are on the table.

"If we do it Tuesday, then it's not that big of a thing.  Not trying to delay anything, just trying to do the best thing we can for the city," Lawrence said.

A cost-cutting measure Mayor Holloway suggested that didn't make it on the agenda is making employees foot some of their health care costs.  Currently, the city covers health care coverage at no expense to city employees.

Under the mayor's proposal, single employees would pay $100 a month while families would pay $200 a month.

The budget hearing is set for next Tuesday at 9 a.m.  During that meeting, the city's accounting firm and health insurers will present financial data and recommendations.

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